The App that reinvented how we travel.

As one of the world’s first taxi apps, no one can dispute the incredible impact mytaxi has had an on the world of mobility. For over a decade, the app ecosystem has redefined how people get around, creating an end-to-end seamless experience for passengers and drivers all around the globe.
  • Client mytaxi
  • Year 2011-2013 & 2018
  • Website mytaxi.com
  • Our Role Product Design
    Brand Design
    Website Design

Once upon a time...

The year is 2008. The Apple App Store was just introduced to the world. Although this has become the standard, imagine that moment: People were suddenly able to buy and download applications onto their smartphone!

At this time, the mytaxi founders Niclaus Mewes and Sven Külper were brainstorming new ideas for mobility. An ambitious vision was formed to build a mobility platform, cutting out the “middle man,” (and subsequently all of the back-and-forth communication) directly connecting drivers and passengers.

While the business case was easy to envision (scalability, disruptive efficiency, digital transformation), the path to attract new customers was not so clear. Especially since the reliability and trust around such a service hadn’t been established yet.

After building the first technical proof of concept, Niclaus Mewes felt an early need to invest in visual clarity and the needs of the user. A visionary who clearly understood the strategic value of good design. Upon discovering our work on the then first Cinemaxx App, he approached us with his plan. Our initial goals were to step up the design game and define a consistent design language which felt home within Apple Eco System family (iOS 5). Combining the strategic initiative of my taxi and our design skills, we wanted to impress customers and investors alike (which had the nice side effect of attracting drivers as well, who in the beginning were not as keen on the idea).

2012: Way back, when interfaces needed a haptic quality to onboard people to the new emerging digital brands.

Users? Customers? Early adopters? Digital natives? Passengers? People?

After re-skinning the User Interface in the then celebrated skeuomorphic style, we turned our focus onto the ominous human being that ultimately would make a daily habit out of ordering a ride (ideally in just one simple interaction). Instead of branching out with gimmicky features that would bloat the app, we tried really tuning in to the real-life moment when an individual orders a taxi (back in 2008).

2008: The only way to get a taxi was to call an agency - if you were lucky and knew the correct number, could specify your exact location in a foreign city you have never been to – all while having the exact amount of cash in your pocket to get to your destination in time.

The act of booking a taxi was all around a stressful task — probably only essential for frequent business trips or party guests. This insight led the mytaxi product team to define a new Golden Path (or Key User Journey) which kept the digital booking process as seamless as possible.

The golden path contained the home screen, address selection, booking overview, driver approaching and payment

Functional VS personal interaction

While our functional Key User Journey tested very successfully, we noticed that cutting out the middle man also meant cutting out many verbal (and therefore natural) interactions with real people. People used to talk… nicely even sometimes.

„Hello there, my Name is Peter and I’d like to order a taxi!“
„Good afternoon Peter, thanks for calling! Where may our driver pick you up?“
„Just got of a meeting. Would you pick me up at Große Bäckerstraße 4?“
„Sure thing! Your driver will collect you in 5 Minutes. Have a great evening!“
Thank you! I Hope you'll have a good one, too.“

Maybe a bit exaggerated. But the main challenge here was on point: How might we keep the now digitalized interaction within the mytaxi app as minimal as possible (best case: one touch) in order to give the conversational experience with the driver in context of the ride more space? This led to a lot of follow up questions:

How might we inspire the passenger as well as the driver to keep a natural conversation going – instead of checking their phones to make sure the technical part of the experience is running properly?
How might we design the experience as frictionless and swift as possible so that the user remembers the service and considers it again?
How might we make the user fall in love with the mytaxi brand, so that they build a habit of coming back on a regular basis?
How might we build trust and loyalty between the brand, the drivers and the passenger, giving everyone the feeling of a win?
How might we position the product as well as the brand as an international leader in mobility?

Can we make the logo bigger?

After defining the product, we were able to focus our attention on the brand. Key challenges were customer loyalty, fleet extension and internationalisation. The success of the projectwould eventually convince investors like Daimler, T-Venture, Car2go and others.

The competition and pressure in terms of pace and quality though was tough. Big and small companies like Google, Uber, Lyft, easytaxi, hailo, gettaxi were all competing for a leading position in the worldwide mobility market.

The question that came to our mind was: Brand evolution or revolution? Fun-fact: T-Venture helped us answer that question, demanding that mytaxi needed a new logo because the "T"-Logo was too reminiscent of the Telekom logo.

No one asked for this new logo. It was forced under stressful circumstances and got a lot of negative press. People weren't expecting that kind of a change (they usually don't in general).

We knew that up front. We urged mytaxi to take it as a strategic chance to enter the European market with a bang and get attention from the big players. It was a risky, but conscious decision: Rattle loyal customers to get a lot more customers.

The success prooved us right. Looking back, this rebrand represented a major leap for the startup. The logo was everywhere. The whole mytaxi movement wore it with pride. It was even distributed across 11 markets.

A bunch of agencies worked hand in hand to roll out the new brand internationally.

Bringing it all together

2012 was a wild ride and definitely not “business as usual” for anybody involved in the mytaxi success story. As a team of excellent developers, product managers, marketers, testers and shareholders, we had a very efficient and tight collaboration with valuable output on a weekly basis. We were very lucky that the team valued design that much.

With Version 4.0 we helped mytaxi to hit a major milestone: Apple App Store App of the Year, 10m investment by Daimler, 10m downloads. This success paved the way for other great developments over the coming years.

Version 4.0 of the iOS App made a bold visual statement.

Result

In 2014, the taxi industry was already changed forever. Very few drivers complained about the transformation in the long run. mytaxi had 1.000 employees, a fleet of 100.000 Taxis and more than 10 Million Downloads (although in addition to the growing numbers were the growing number of competitors). We were proud about our contributions that led to this amount of impact in such short amount of time. Thinking forward though, one thing was clear for us: The big exit in 2014.

Modulr helped us being recognized as one of a few great german startups.

Niclaus Mewes, Founder of mytaxi

In 2018 though, right before we knew about the plans of the merging mobility brands of Daimler and BMW that would come together as FreeNow, we were once again commissioned for another redesign. Since we didn’t know about any branding restrictions, we came up with our own system of colors, shapes and typography. Our focus was to strip down the User Interface as much as possible (quite a reversal from our strategy in 2012). Unfortunately though, only parts of our redesign concept went into the actual final version of the app.

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